Robert T. Sumichrast, dean of Louisiana State University’s business college, has been chosen dean of UGA’s Terry College of Business, effective July 1.
Sumichrast, who has been dean of LSU’s E.J. Ourso College of Business since 2003, will succeed P. George Benson, who left UGA to become president of the College of Charleston.
An authority on management and operations science, Sumichrast was on the faculty of Virginia Tech from 1984 to 2003, and also taught at Clemson University, where he received a doctoral degree in management science. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Purdue University.
“The faculty, search committee and administration are all in agreement that Dr. Sumichrast can take an already outstanding college of business at UGA to the next level,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “I believe that all our constituencies will be impressed with his intellect, vision and manner of dealing with people. I look forward to a very bright future for the Terry College.”
An event will be held within the next few weeks for the university community to meet and welcome Sumichrast to campus.
As dean of LSU’s Ourso College, Sumichrast had notable success in increasing private financial support through such steps as instituting a professional fee structure for M.B.A. students, increasing the fundraising staff and strengthening contacts with alumni. Annual private donations to the college rose from $1.5 million to $4 million, and the college recently received a pledge of $15 million.
The college also has moved up markedly in rankings for academic quality. Programs in internal auditing, accounting and entrepreneurship are in several top-five national rankings and the M.B.A. program, previously unranked, is in the Wall Street Journal’s top 10 for programs with regional recruiting patterns.
Sumichrast led in developing plans for a new $60 million building for the Ourso College that the Louisiana legislature has included in its capital outlay process. The college has received more than $11 million in private donations and pledges and expects to receive $30 million from the state for the building.
Sumichrast instituted a new admissions system for the college that raised both the number and academic qualifications of student applicants, and he started a program on Chinese business and culture that enables M.B.A. students to travel, study and hold internships in China.
At Virginia Tech, Sumichrast was associate dean for graduate and international programs and taught courses in management science and information technology. He developed three upper-level courses and served on more than 35 doctoral committees.
“I am delighted that Dean Sumichrast has accepted our offer to become dean of the Terry College,” said Provost Arnett C. Mace Jr. “He has a proven record of outstanding accomplishments as a faculty member, associate dean and dean. His expertise and outstanding leadership of the Ourso College at LSU were significant in improving national rankings of programs, raising the academic quality of students and increasing state and private support, particularly in increased private support.
“His perspectives and vision for the Terry College, in concert with the University of Georgia, are outstanding,” Mace added. “I look forward to working with Robert to advance the Terry College of Business commensurate with the University of Georgia.”